Black Hawks at Rockhampton Airport

Military Police tell residents to 'move on, don't take pics'

IT'S not just the little kids in our community that get excited about the military aircraft being in Rockhampton.

A bunch of plane enthusiasts love to photograph landings of planes and helicopters at the airport with Talisman Sabre providing a great entertaining and unique opportunity for one month every two years.

Unfortunately, some of these aircraft enthusiasts were approached by Military Police in the past week on Rockhampton Airport land (owned by Rockhampton Regional Council) and told to 'move on'.

Sources have told The Morning Bulletin that at least eight groups of people have reported these encounters.

They say the Military Police have told them they have orders from 'high up' to move people on from everywhere but the viewing platforms next to the commercial departure and arrival building.

The reports include one RAAF personnel approaching people taking photographs of a broken down Globemaster - a large transport aircraft - and telling them they cannot take photos of military aircraft.

United States Army UH-60M Blackhawk hovers above Rockhampton Airport during Talisman Saber 2019
United States Army UH-60M Blackhawk hovers above Rockhampton Airport during Talisman Saber 2019 Russell Prothero

Most reports suggest the Military Police are patrolling in mixed groups of Australian defence force personnel and American, and a hire ute with a military dog in the back.

An Australian Defence Force spokesperson told The Bulletin there was no such order.

Talisman Sabre is a joint exercise involving Australian and American defence forces operating at Queensland locations such as Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.

The majority of TS19 exercise activities will take place in the existing ADF Shoalwater Bay Training Area and surrounding State Forests near Rockhampton.

Other events will occur around Stanage Bay and the Capricorn Coast, Whitsunday Region (Bowen, Proserpine and surrounding areas), Mackay region (including south of Sarina), Bundaberg and surrounding region, the ADF Townsville Field Training Area and the ADF Evans Head Air Weapons Range.

Following these reports, The Bulletin went to the airport on Saturday after the Talisman Sabre Open Day at the Rockhampton Showgrounds to look at what other aircraft were parked on the tarmac.

More than 100 people gathered to watch four US Blackhawk helicopters warm up, get into formation, take off, fly across the road to the barracks to pick up more gear and people before flying off in the direction of Shoalwater Bay.